Arab Mothers Association promotes Arabic language culture through annual book fair


Photographer: Nadia Benali

Numerous authors presented stories about Arabic culture as part of this year’s AMA book fair.

Claire R., Ranad B., and Acila G.

The ASD Arab Mothers’ Association (AMA) hosted their annual book fair in the elementary school presentation room (ESPR), but things were a little different this year.

The event was coordinated by Ms. Rasha Hijazi, the chair of the AMA, and lasted from Feb. 3-7. Multiple Arabic authors, including Hanouf Al Buainain, Shaikha Al-Zeyara, Rasha Sunbul, Muneera Al Romaihi, and Mohammad Al-Meri, came to the book fair to participate. All the authors, as well as an Arabic-speaking parent, read their works to students of all ages to increase their understanding of Arabic culture.

Also new this year, a small collection of books in Spanish and English were offered for students to buy, so as to expand the cultures who could enjoy the chosen selections. Additionally, all proceeds will go toward the AMA for scholarships, the International Week Arabic tent, as well as other important projects.

An Arab-American author who published books on Arab culture came to ASD to read his stories to children taking Spanish language classes. He published his books in English and Spanish so that they would be more accessible to children around the world. The goal was to teach students about Arabic culture even if they can’t read the language.

Elementary students found lots of works that appealed to them at this year’s fair.  Photographer: Nadia Benali

Getting these books to ASD in the first place was no easy matter. The AMA had acquired them from the Qatar National Library, going through their Arabic collection with care, and reading through the books to choose good titles carefully. They also tried to look for more recently published books so the students at ASD have new stories available to read. They focused on Arabic books that talked about their culture so as to spread and promote them around ASD.

The group is planning several more events for the year, including a booth at the Friendship Festival and a sale before Ramadan. They have been running the Ramadan Market for three years now, and they sell many great gifts for family and friends during Eid. At the Friendship Festival, an AMA cafe will be run wholly by volunteer ASD High School students. They will be selling food, and they will all contribute in different ways according to the skills they have. Some will be making art works, others are planning for it, and some will be running it. Not only that, but they are also designing logos for their activity.

The Ilyas & Duck storybooks have proven highly popular with ASD children. Written by local Doha resident Omar S. Khawaja, an American writer of Pakistani descent, they convey positive tales of Muslim culture and traditions.  Photographer: Nadia Benali

The AMA will also offer high school students the chance to fulfill service-credit requirements by coming to read books to children next year. Additionally, the AMA is also offering a Scholarship Award for two students worth more than $1000 each, so interested students should watch for more information about applying.

Asked what she thought others felt about the Book Fair, AMA chairperson Rasha Hijazi expressed that “I think all the kids really like it and there’s very positive feedback about it.” She also said that the club plan to continue holding the fair, so expect for it to come again next year!